A brief look at our congregational history, and how we fit into the larger Anabaptist-Mennonite story.
Our story is part of the larger story of the Anabaptist movement, with roots in the radical wing of the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Part of the group known as Anabaptists (because they re-baptized adult believers), the Mennonites took their name from Menno Simons, a Dutch priest who converted to the Anabaptist faith and helped lead it to prominence in Holland by the mid-16th century. Modern day Mennonites number almost 1 million worldwide, with churches in North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Mennonites are known for their emphasis on peace, justice, simplicity, community, service, and mutual aid.
In the late sixties, a group of Mennonite families living in the Puget Sound area began gathering in living rooms for worship, and to talk about starting a church. In 1968, with the assistance of a grant from the Pacific District Conference of the General Conference Mennonite church, a wood frame community center near Angle Lake in South Seattle was purchased and the South Seattle Mennonite Church was born. The first pastor was Milton Harder, and an early goal of the group was to establish a Mennonite Voluntary Service unit. This goal was accomplished in 1970, with many of the first MVSers working at Seattle Mental Health Institute. We are celebrating our 50-year Jubilee anniversary in 2018, and look forward to a celebration weekend November 2-4. Over our 50 years we have met in 4 different church buildings, had more than a dozen pastors, welcomed MVS’ers galore, and experienced an abundance of faithful relationships. God is good and we are grateful.
In keeping with their spiritual roots, Mennonites still believe in the close textual readings of the Scriptures and a personal spiritual responsibility as the basis of their faith. Radical from the beginning, but later considered conservative in many of their beliefs, Mennonites have come to represent a spectrum of backgrounds and beliefs. Pacifism is one of the cornerstones of the Mennonite faith, prompting many young Mennonites to elect service to the church rather than military service. The Mennonite church emphasizes service to others as an important way of expressing one’s faith. A disproportionately large number of Mennonites spend part of their lives working as missionaries or volunteers helping those in need, nationally or internationally, through agencies such as Mennonite Mission Network or Mennonite Central Committee.
MCUSA is one of about 40 different Mennonite groups in the United States. While we share a common faith ancestry with these groups, we may vary in the way we dress, worship and relate, to the world.
PNMC is made up of Mennonite congregations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, and Utah, and seeks to connect Anabaptist congregations with the leaders, skills, and resources they need to be authentic witnesses to Christ in their communities.
The Seattle MVS unit strives to be intentional about their programming so that volunteers can maximize their time in the unit, cultivating a greater understanding of spirituality, intentional community, simple living, solidarity with marginalized groups, and their own personal calling.
Camrec is a camp of the Washington Mennonite Fellowship churches. Located on 240 acres in the east foothills of the Cascade Mountains, 12 miles from Leavenworth WA and 10 miles from Lake Wenatchee, Camrec provides a year-round retreat for all ages.
EMC is our sister church. They strive to be a community of believers living the Kingdom of God and equipping its members to speak the good news of Jesus Christ, primarily to individuals and communities on the east side of Lake Washington.
SCN is a network of Mennonite and Church of the Brethren congregations who publicly affirm the full welcome and participation of of LGBTQ persons in the life of the church. Administered by the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests.